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Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
WED5.1: The benefits of standardisation in reducing seismic risk
Time: Wednesday, 29/Aug/2012: 2:40pm - 4:10pm
Session Chair: Fabio Federico TAUCER, Joint Research Centre
Session Chair: Artur PINTO, European Commission - DG JRC
Location: Dischma

Session organized by the Joint Research Centre


The benefits of standardisation in reducing seismic risk

Fabio Federico TAUCER, Artur PINTO

Joint Research Centre, Italy (European Commission)

Protection of societies against earthquake disasters and socio-economic losses is a multi-step process involving advancement of science by the research community, development of tools and methodologies for assessment and design, and their harmonization into standards and subsequent implementation by the Member States.

The work that has been carried out in the last decades by the different countries in Europe and across the world in the area of seismic risk mitigation demonstrates the efforts undertaken to date to reduce the consequences of earthquake disasters. This has resulted in a vast amount of different approaches and methodologies, that in spite of adding to scientific knowledge, have had limited application at global scale. There is a need to put together the efforts undertaken to reach cross-border approaches and consensus, progressing towards harmonization and standardisation. This calls for coordinated actions to exploit the available resources and the complementarities and expertise of the many different actors.

To this end, the European Commission has supported a program for the harmonization of technical standards in the field of construction, known today as the Eurocodes, which were recommended to be fully implemented in the Member States by 2010. Likewise, through the Research Framework Programs financed by the European Union, a large number of projects in the field of earthquake risk mitigation, with the joint and coordinated cooperation of all Member States, have contributed to the harmonization of techniques and methodologies for seismic hazard and risk assessments, and loss estimation.

The objective of the session is to present the various initiatives undertaken in the European Union towards harmonization and implementation, and to show how they can improve earthquake risk mitigation at a global scale.

The session will consist of four 20 min. presentations concerning the: i) Implementation of the European Standards for Construction in Europe, in particular of Eurocode 8 (Design of structures for earthquake resistance) and how they contribute towards reducing seismic risk, making the best and most efficient use of available resources in Europe; ii) Development of a harmonized seismic hazard model for Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Assessment (PSHA) in the Euro-Mediterranean region; iii) The contribution of the INSPIRE Directive of the European Commission, in particular of the Data Specifications of Buildings, in providing exposure data for seismic risk assessment and loss estimation in Europe and iv) a proposal for a definition of harmonized typologies of European elements at risk, including buildings and infrastructure.

Possible titles and contributors for the presentations are:
- The role of the European Standards for Construction (Eurocodes) for earthquake risk mitigation (JRC).
- Harmonized hazard assessment procedures and guidelines in Europe (Contribution from FP7 SHARE Project)
- Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe Directive: Contribution towards seismic risk and loss assessment (INSPIRE Directive, TWG Buildings)
- Proposal for harmonized typology definitions of European elements at risk (contribution from FP7 SYNER-G Project)

Aims & Outcome

The aim of the session is to present the efforts currently being undertaken in Europe to promote harmonization in areas that are directly concerned with earthquake risk mitigation. The session will also open the ground for discussion of the associated benefits of harmonization in reducing the consequences of earthquake disasters and in allowing and facilitating seismic risk assessment and loss estimation in Europe. Ways for removing the remaining barriers that are holding back further harmonization and the implementation of standards in Europe will be put forward.

Harmonization of seismic hazard assessment: the SHARE example


eth Zurich, Switzerland

Probabilistic seismic hazard assessment (PSHA) characterizes the best available knowledge on the seismic hazard, ideally taking into account all sources of uncertainty. Several large scale projects have been launched aiming to harmonize PSHA standards around the globe. The EC-FP7 project SHARE (www.share-eu.org) released a community-based probabilistic time-independent hazard model for the Euro- Mediterranean region in 2012 and contributes its results to the Global Earthquake Model (GEM, www.globalquakemodel.org), a public/private partnership initiated and approved by the Global Science Forum of the OECD-GSF. SHARE inherited knowledge from national, regional and site-specific PSHAs and strived to harmonize data and process across the whole Europe, introducing new various novel procedures, which build the new SHA reference: i) the new historical and instrumental seismic catalogue stems from a consensus approach; ii) a single database of active faults has been constructed merging the national contributions with rigorous common standards, established by the GEM Faulted Earth global project; iii) state-of-the-art approaches to assess sources of uncertainties were introduced in building the model logic-tree, including area-source, kernel-smoothed seismicity, fault-based and hybrid approaches; iv) the design of the GMPE logic-tree was achieved for the first time by a rigorous process of expert elicitation, using standards developed in the nuclear industry; v) the SHARE-PSHA comprises results for various return periods of engineering interest and various ground motion intensity measures (PGA, spectral accelerations at various periods) as well as uniform hazard spectra and disaggregation results for key locations; vi) a standardized computational framework has been established with GEM, to allow tracking and reproducing of all SHA steps and results. SHARE is a procedural example on how to perform a regional scale PSHA addressing diverse demands from the general public, seismologists, engineers and decision makers.

The importance of a systemic seismic vulnerability and risk analysis of complex urban, regional, national or pan-European systems comprising buildings, transportation, lifelines, utility networks and critical facilities



SYNER-G (EU project) is a European collaborative research project focusing on systemic seismic vulnerability and risk analysis of buildings, transportation and utility networks and critical facilities. The originality of the project is the systemic approach of vulnerability and risk assessment of complex interacting systems. The whole methodology is implemented in an open source software tool and is validated in selected case studies. Main goals of SYNER-G are: i) to elaborate appropriate, in the European context, fragility relationships for the vulnerability analysis and loss estimation of all elements at risk; ii) to develop social and economic vulnerability relationships for quantifying the impact of earthquakes; iii) to develop a unified methodology, and tools for systemic vulnerability assessment accounting for all components exposed to seismic hazard, considering interdependencies within a system unit and between systems; and iv) to validate the methodology and the proposed fragility functions in selected sites and systems and to implement in an appropriate open source software tool. SYNER-G developed an innovative methodological framework for the assessment of physical as well as socio-economic seismic vulnerability at the urban/regional level. The built environment is modeled according to a detailed taxonomy into its component systems, grouped into the following categories: buildings, transportation and utility networks, and critical facilities. Each category may have several types of components. The framework encompasses in an integrated fashion all aspects in the chain, from regional hazard to fragility assessment of components to the socio-economic impacts of an earthquake, accounting for all relevant uncertainties within an efficient quantitative simulation scheme, and modeling interactions between the multiple component systems in the taxonomy.

The role of the European Standards for Construction (Eurocodes) for earthquake risk mitigation

Artur PINTO, Fabio Federico TAUCER

European Commission - DG JRC, Italy, Republic of

The Eurocodes are the European norms establishing a set of common technical rules for the design of economical and safe buildings and civil engineering works, which will ultimately replace the differing rules in the various Member States. The intended benefits arising from the implementation and use of the Eurocodes are to: i) lead to a more uniform level of constructions safety across Europe; ii) facilitate the free movement of construction services, structural components/kits, materials and products; iii) increase the competitiveness of the European construction industry; and iv) provide a common basis for research and development. The Eurocodes constitute a key instrument for the application of the Construction Products Regulation (305/2011/EU -CPR) and the Public Procurement Directive (2004/18/EC). They are also the framework for drawing up harmonised technical specifications for construction products. A Commission Recommendation (2003/887/EC) calls for a shared effort between the Commission, Member States and industry. By instituting a common design framework, the Eurocodes have enhanced and have been a common basis for research and development in civil engineering in the European Union during the last decade, leading to one of the most advanced design and construction standards in the world. The use of the Eurocodes will lead to a more uniform level of construction safety in the different European regions, while responding to regulatory safety matters at national level through the so called Nationally Determined Parameters (NDPs). New areas of prenormative research have been identified in the area of earthquake resistant design, which undertaken at European level, will allow to increase the level of safety and performance for the further mitigation of earthquake risk.

Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe Directive (INSPIRE): contribution towards seismic risk and loss assessment

Fabio Federico TAUCER

Joint Research Centre, Italy, Republic of

The challenges regarding the lack of availability, quality, organisation, accessibility, and sharing of spatial information are common to a large number of policies and activities. In order to solve these problems it is necessary to take measures of coordination between the users and providers of spatial information. The Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council adopted on 14 March 2007 aims at establishing an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE) for policies and activities that have an impact on the environment. A number of spatial data themes dealing with geographical, environmental and infrastructure data have been identified. Among these, a Task Working Group was set up for the production of harmonised data specifications on the theme “Buildings” (TWG BU), corresponding to Annex II/III of the INSPIRE Directive. The data specifications were generated responding to the needs of user requirements in the areas of safety, environment, urban expansion and infrastructures. The TWG BU provides two kinds of semantic profiles: a normative core profile based on data widely available whose harmonisation is required at European level (such as height, number of floors, building use and building nature, date of construction and number of dwellings, among others), and an extended profile based on data that is widely required but that is rarely available (material of facade, roof and structure, floors below ground, material of structure, official area). This data provides information describing the attributes of the elements at risk, in particular buildings, necessary for determining their vulnerability and associated fragilities. The harmonization of such data will provide ease of use and access for the constructing of building inventories and will allow for inter-comparable results from seismic risk analysis and loss assessment at regional and European level.

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